In my experience, reason neither enables nor supports empathy or social justice.
The word ‘cannibalism’ itself was actually a Spanish ethnic reference to the caribe tribesman of what we all know as the Caribbean islands. In the case of the more common examples of traditional endocannibalism, and even in the case of much exocannibalism, it was believed that a spiritual essence was contained in a particular part of the body like the heart, or brain, or the blood, and that the power could be absorbed by consumption. In the case of endocannibalism it was more an act of veneration and in a sense “inheritance”, than an actual simple cannibalization.
Endo vs exo? Friend or foe. Consumption of a tribe member versus consumption of outsiders.
Cannibalism as a food source does have some basis to support it, but it is more strictly exocannibalism in that case. Some of the cultures had a dearth of available protein with not practicing any form of actual animal husbandry. In the harsh climate cultures/countries cannibalism seems most evident. Arab grave robbing may have been for food more than for treasure, thus the legend of the ghoul.
They only ate brain, heart, and blood? In the ritual practices, yes. They were looking for the spiritual power. Even Christian ritual is in a sense cannibalism by trans-substantiation. The blood of Christ. Eating bread, and wine, and flesh as a partaking in the Christ’s power. In the case of Aztec practices and in keeping even with non cannibalistic ritual magic, the priest would assume the role of the deity in question.
Are vampires cannibals? Some say vampires regard themselves their own species, but feed on humans.
Zombies don’t eat zombies either? Zombies actually do. Zombie lore is the Haitian equivalent of the Japanese Jiki Niki, hungry ghost. And most evidence suggests that cannibalism was practiced more commonly as a form of sacrament than an actual food driven practice.
I have been vegan since I was 12 and one of the reason was I thought it was weird we don’t eat human. Well, in one instance it was due to an outbreak of a disease called kuru, a “mad human” disease found to be very similar to mad cow and spread by the consumption or use of brain matter.
The thinking behind cannibalism is world wide, and not truly gone from the world. Dahmers motive was some sort of spiritual union with his victims who he professed to love. Some voluntary “sanguinarian” practices to this day are motivated by thought of intimacy.
Was most cannibalism performed on children, and women, or lower caste men? Usually no. But the case of eating the lower caste was still relatively modern in the idea that primitive peoples were all naturally cannibals. Supposedly being more animal than human. It was deemed legal for slaves in the USA, and only slaves, to practice it. An old obscure legal judgement.
But it may also absolve slave masters from feeding their slaves too? Indeed, they had all manner of rationalization for legitimizing slave abuses, though the first two “slaves” in the USA were in legitimate indenturing contracts. Actual enslavement came later.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.